Mr John Harvey was born in Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, Ireland on 1 March 1886. Hailing from a Presbyterian family, he was the son of Robert Harvey, a mariner, and Mary O’Hare. He had five known siblings.
The family moved to Belfast sometime in the early 1890s and appear on the 1901 census as residents of 16 Kingswood Street in east Belfast. Aged 15, John by then had already left school and was working as a labourer before, at age 19, he enlisted with the British Army.
John was married in St Mark’s Church, Belfast on 11 July 1907 to Sarah McIlvenna (b. circa 1884). By 1911 the couple were childless and living at 21 Avondale Street in east Belfast, John being described as a shipyard labourer.
Harvey’s ship prior to Titanic had been the Olympic. He joined Titanic at Belfast for the delivery trip to Southampton where he then disembarked.
In August 1914 John Harvey reenlisted in the British Army following the outbreak of war but most of his time was spent on British soil although he did serve at Gallipoli in September 1915 and Alexandria in early 1916 before his discharge in January 1916.